Latin America & Caribbean

Fidel Castro's ashes buried in Santiago de Cuba

Soldiers stand guard next to a boulder where the ashes of Fidel Castro were placed. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Soldiers stand guard next to a boulder where the ashes of Fidel Castro were placed

Fidel Castro's ashes have been laid to rest in the Cuban city of Santiago, nine days after his death at 90.

Crowds lined the streets to see the cortege heading to the Santa Ifigenia cemetery for a private ceremony.

"There were no speeches. It was very simple," France's representative, Environment Minister Segolene Royal, said afterwards.

On Saturday Fidel's brother, Cuban President Raul Castro, promised "to defend the fatherland and socialism".

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Raul Castro placed the urn in Fidel's tomb

In a family ceremony, Fidel Castro's ashes were interred next to those of the 19th Century Cuban independence hero, Jose Marti.

Santiago is known as the birthplace of the Cuban Revolution.

The funeral brings an end to nine days of national mourning across Cuba.

His remains arrived in Saturday in Santiago after a four-day journey from the capital, Havana.

"All of us who love Fidel, who is a father to us. He cleared a path for us and the people will follow him," Tania Maria Jimenez told Reuters news agency.

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Media captionCrowds gathered to see Fidel Castro's funeral cortege pass by

Fidel Castro was part of the small group of revolutionaries who launched an attack on the Moncada barracks in Santiago on 26 July 1953.

The attacked failed, but it was considered the first act of the revolution that would depose the US-backed government of Fulgencio Batista on 1 January 1959.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Cubans waited to see inside the tomb where Fidel Castro's ashes are interred

Opinion on Fidel Castro, who ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost half a century, remains divided.

Supporters say he returned Cuba to the people and praise him for some of his social programmes, such as public health and education.

But critics call him a dictator, who led a government that repressed opposition and dissent.

Raul Castro took over when his brother's health deteriorated in 2006.

He has announced that Cuba will ban naming any monuments or roads after Fidel Castro, at the request of the late leader who "strongly opposed any manifestation of cult of personality".

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Mr Castro was also remembered at the Cuban embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam, by Nguyen Van Hai, 70

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